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NOW With Alex Wagner

News/Business. Alex Wagner. Forces driving the day's stories. New.

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TOPIC FREQUENCY

Us 9, Nra 6, Ryan 4, Washington 4, U.s. 3, Obama 3, Newtown 3, Jared 2, Paul Ryan 2, Limbaugh 2, George Bush 2, Billy 2, Huffington 2, North Carolina 2, Benjamin Wallace 2, Texas 2, New York 2, Buckley 2, The Administration 1, Ben 1,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    February 4, 2013
    9:00 - 10:00am PST  

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>> wane la pierre of 1999, may we introduce you to the wane law pierre of 2013? it's monday, february 4th, and this is "now." joining me today huffington post, washington bureau chief ryan grim, nia malika henderson of the washington post, senior fellow at the center on budget and policy priorities, jared bernstein, and new york making sfwleen contributing editor benjamin wallace wells. >> president obama takes to the skies with a message on gun safety and will deliver a speech in minneapolis just two hours from now. among his top priorities? instituting universal background checks, the focus of a six-figure super bowl ad taken out by mayors against illegal
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guns and broadcast last night to the beltway audience. >> the nra once supported background checks. >> we think it's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show, no loopholes anywhere for anyone. >> america can do this for us. please. >> the ad highlights the nra's slide towards irrationality since law pierre throated his full support for background checks. >> the craziness of the extreme pro-gun lobby has been revealed, and that has got to move the debate. it's got to move the legislation to at least some degree. >> the nra is now revealed as an insan organization, and that matters quite a lot. >> criticism of the nra is no longer the purr view of the "new york times" proving just how exactly they have gotten. the nra executive vice president was called out on fox news
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sunday. fox news sunday. for his baseless fear of a government gun grab. >> i think they'll turn this universal check on the law-abiding into a universal rebelling industry of law-abiding people, and law-abiding people don't want that. i mean, my god. it's the last thing. >> they absolutely do not. i mean, forgive me, sir, but you take something that is here and you say it's going to go all the way over there. there's nothing that anyone in the administration has said that indicates they're going to have a universal registry. >> and obama care wasn't a tax until they needed it to be a tax. >> well, it's the supreme court that said that. >> i don't think you can trust these -- >> while la pierre says he can't trust the president, he also apparently can't trust his own members. nine in ten americans support universal background checks, including 74% of nra members. given the fact that more than 1,200 people have been killed by guns since the massacre at sandy hook elementary, it would seem that the call for reform remains urgent, and the desire for change no less so.
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ryan, i actually thought that the footage of la pierre from 1999 was really powerful given the fact that he is really -- it is a full-throated endorsement of universal background checks. do you agree with paul that the nra has revealed itself to be an insane organization and that has actually changed things over the debate over gun safety laws? is. >> it's run by lunatics. that's clear. people that were not always lunatics. you know, he was among those 70% to 90% that backed background checks back in the 1990s. you know, they're not alone. unfortunately. orrin hatch this week in the senate said, listen, if you start doing background checks, then you have to refer to a list, and if you are building a list, that's where freedom goes to die. something along those lines. it's not that it's just the nra. there are other serious elements of the republican party that believe this. that if you put this list together of law-abiding people, the mechanics thing you're going to do -- first they came for the
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nra, and, you know. >> you have a great piece in new york magazine talking about the -- you use -- the adam lanza used at newtown to sort of tell the story about american gun culture, and i thought this was an interesting sort of insight from the piece. you write "the harvard law professor edward glaeser once wrote a paper explaining that people tended buy the most guns in places where the power of the state and its ability to protect its citizens seemed most distant. rural america and the poorest sections of the inner city. one way of viewing the vogue for assault weapons is that those geographic distinctions have now become states of mind." >> you know, if we're talking about the shift in the nra's politics from a decade ago until now, there's also this really interesting shift in the kinds of guns people own and, therefore, what people expect the politics of gun ownership to look like. a decade ago we were still talking about an america where, you know, most of the guns sold were rifles, and you could still mrauzably say gun ownership is a hunting culture.
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in 2010 pistol -- in 2000 rifles are twice pistol sales, basically. in 2010 pistols past rifle. we're thawing did a gun culture that's primarily focused on self-defense. what's weird about that is it's a time that crime is declining pretty rapidly. >> when we talk about -- there is some -- i don't want to put sort of cultural differences at the root of this, but that is some part of that, and i thought actually chris wallace did an effective job of drawing that out from wayne law pierre yesterday when they were talking about the ad that the nra was running about the obama daughters. let's play a little bit of that sound. >> the president's kids are safe, and we're all thankful for it. the point of that ad -- >> they also face a threat that most people do not face. >> tell that to the people in newtown. sflu really think that the president's children are the same kind of target as every schoolchild in america? i think that's ridiculous, and you know it, sir. one of the points of that ad that i want to ask you about is you made it a class argument.
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the rich, the elite. >> sure. >> they have bodyguards. they have security. >> sure. and mayor bloomberg has it. mayor bloomberg has bodyguards. >> i'll tell you somebody else who has security. you do. >> sometimes. we've had -- there's -- yeah. >> on capitol hill you have security. >> you talk about -- >> today you have security. >> yeah. you talk about hypocrisy right out in the open. we've had all kinds of threats. >> does that make you -- >> so, jerry, if it is -- if it is a class argument that the nra is making, which i do believe is part of it, how does -- how does the president overcome that? we know that the white house released the skeet shooting photo over the weekend, and i'm sure everybody has an opinion on that. you know, how does someone like the president bridge that divide? >> he looked pretty serious. >> i don't know how that doesn't seem like it is. the national skeet shooting association says he is not holding it right. >> a lot of people -- >> man, i don't know. that seems like a man who knows how to hold a skeet gun. >> i think -- look, maybe it's me, but i think the poll numbers are trumping cultural and class
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arguments at this point in the following sense. once you get to 70% among nra members, once you get to 90% plus among the public, some of the distinctions become a little bit less important because the sensibility now post-newtown is that we have to do something, and the question is how much. at this point i think the most important issue, especially from washington where i'm watching this unfold, is we need this much in terms of gun control. are we going to get this much, this much, that much, and that's what we'll have to see. i don't think this is going to be blocked by cultural class differences. i think it will be blocked by raw politics and the fact that far too many members of congress are still way too deeply in the pocket of the nra. >> speaking of people who you can look to as sort of bellweathers for how much we're going to get legislatively, harry reid was also on the sunday shows this weekend doing what i will call a delicate political kabuki theater dance around the question of the assault weapons ban. let's hear what he had to say. >> frankly, she knows i haven't
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read her amendment. i didn't vote for the assault weapons last time because it was -- didn't make sense, but i'll take a look at it. >> how about restriction on high capacity magazines for ammunition? >> i think that's something we definitely have to take a look at. >> take a look or vote for? >> well, let's see what it is. >> i guess that's not shutting the door, right? we'll take a look at it is the opening the door to this ok the floor of the senate, so maybe that is a good sign for people advocating for gun safety laws? >> i think it is a good sign, and lots of democrats want to be in the place where reid is. saying essentially, oh, i'm not really for the assault wepdz ban, but i do support these other measures. that's looked like -- if you think about somebody like kay hagen, who will be up for re-election in north carolina, she could probably safely vote for any of these measures, specifically the background check, and still be fine in north carolina. not be such a target of the nra. i think in some ways the assault weapons ban, it was like a fake poison pill in some ways.
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it will give democrats a way to sort of be moderates around this issue and not be targets. >> don't you think that the people are just way ahead of the politicians. >> that's right. i think that's right. we see the polls, and even members of the nra, as you said. >> politicians are starting to come around too. if you look at the special election in illinois that's going on right now, debbie halverson, huge nra supporter and got huge support from the nra in the past, she's now running and explicitly saying i am not seeking the support of the nra. that's kind of a watershed moment. that somebody who is running for office is running away from the mra to try to get elected. that hasn't happened in a moderate district in decades. >> yeah. >> i think if we discount how important the backgrounds checks really are versus the assault weapons ban, if you look at who is killed in terms of the type of gun used, it's only 5% for rifles and assault weapons. 95% for handguns. i think we sometimes frame a
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background check as sort of, you know, only getting half -- >> closing loopholes. >> that in some ways would be more effective in preventing some of the gun violence. >> gun violence that's not just sort of massacres like newtown, but gun violence like we're talking about in chicago. >> yeah. >> exactly. >> you know, the disappointing piece of this, the kind of cavat, is that -- >> please. focus on the sell ver lining. >> look, we have 300 million guns out there in the country. more so than cars. these things last 100 years. you know? they're being passed around, sold, stolen. you know, these are all very, very deadly weapons, and though there is some momentum now and even really good proposals out there for how to limit guns that are being manufactured now, will be manufactured in the future, we're still talking about an almost unfathomable backlog of deadly weapons. snoo in your research for your piece, how effective did you find gun buy-back? did you explore that? >> gun buy-back is like a cash
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for clunkers program. like the economists who have looked at it say that the people who actually turn in their guns are turning in their older guns and buying new guns, you know? in australia, you know, where they instituted this massive nationwide gun buy-back in the immediate aftermath of the massacre in tasmania in 1987 or something, very effective at drawing guns out of the population. a very different culture there and a very unique moment. in the united states gun buy-backs have not been very effective at drawing big weapon out. >> it is a great piece, and it is beautifully written, my friend. i think it's one of my favorite pieces that you have written, and i know i'm always sort of, you know, pushing forward this praise, but this one is a really good one, and i recommend it. >> we have to leave it there. after the break, the obama administration broadens its guidelines for the apoured fordable care act contraception mandate. will it end the controversy? we will discuss the battles over women's health care part one million when the president of pro-choice america joins us live next on "now." all stations come over to mission a for a final go.
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the great 2012 debate over waems health concerns begot all male hearings on contra vepgs and a national smear campaign directed at a georgetown law student. >> can you imagine if you were her parents, how proud of sandra fluke you would be? your daughter goes township a congressional hearing and testifies she's having so much sex she can't afford her own birth control pills. >> vintage rush limbaugh. in the months since then the obama administration has sought
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to quell controversy by proposing an expanded set of rules. ones which increase the types of nonprofits that can opt out of the affordable care acts contraception mandate while insuring that employees in need of birth control have access to free contraception. the new policy outlined by the department of health and human services on friday guarantees that employees at really just nonprofits like universities, hospitals, and charities, still have access to free contraception coverage, but it allows the institutions to avoid having to pay for the contraception directly. instead, insurance companies will pick up the tab. in addition, the rule broadens the types of institution that is can opt out of the mandate. no longer would a nonprofit have to site the promotion of religious values as its purpose or primarily employ persons who share the same religious beliefs or primarily serve people who share the same religious tenants in order to be eligible to opt out. while some religious groups, including the u.s. conference of catholic bishops reacted cautiously to the new policy, others weren't satisfied saying
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secular for profit businesses with over 50 employees should also be able to opt out over religious objections. the beckett fund for religious liberty, a group representing plaintiffs in eight lawsuits, said the compromise was "still unacceptable and unconstitutional" noting that the proposed rule does monthing to protect the religious freedom of millions of americans. the administration is soliciting feedback on the proposed changes until april 8 after which final rules will be published. joining us now to discuss is the president of pro choice america ellise hoeing. congrat laegs on the new gig. we're happy to have you on the show. >> thanks so much, alex. it's great to be here. >> what a day. >> right? >> there's been a lot of talk and reaction to these proposed rules changes. some people saying this is eminently reasonable. it seems eminently reasonable to me, and, yet, the president of ave maria university said what they're doing is, the administration, they've obviously established a new federal entitlement, something
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like contraception stamps. >> you know, it's so funny, alex. i was watching your last segment and thinking perhaps the only area where politics is as out of touch with culture as guns is actually this debate about women's choices, right? we know that 90% of women in this country use contraception. that's true across religious denominations. what we're seeing here is the last dying gasps of a political constituency who think they can exert more power than their constituency will support. one of the things we're seeing in these responses is this sort of dynamic of they can't take yes for an answer, right? >> right. >> and so what they're laying bare is this idea that they actually just don't want women to have that fundamental freedom to choose when, with who, and how we have families, which we know is key to women being able to live empowered lives. >> what i don't understand, is we keep thinking that someone is iffing to be shaken to their senses and by someone we mean
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some of these conservatives who are proposing radical personhood amendments and the like, and, yet, the train moves forward. the debate here isn't even about choice. this is about basic contraception, and so on some degree you're saying it's a last dying gasp of a movement that is -- at the same time on the state level the movement continues. defunding planned parenthood, taking away basic health care for 150,000 women in texas. i mean, what gives? >> yeah. no, absolutely. look, we cannot soft pedal the fact that our job is to actually catalize and expedite the closing of the gap between where culture is and where politics is because daily there are women who are victimized by these regressive policies. i mean, in my home state of texas half of poor women are without basic health care, much less access to contraception or safe and legal abortion because of the defunding of planned pirnthood there, and our job is
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to make visible the number of americans who have actually thought that it was fine to let this go because this was decided by the highest court of the land, you know, several decades ago, and say enough. not only are we going to enshrine these basic fundamental rights for all women into our culture and our politics, but, many of the, we're going to start moving forward and look at what a policy agenda looks like to support all of women's modern day choices. they're very different than they were 40 years ago. >> i want to bring in our panel here, jared. the other thing about that statement from the president of ave maria university, the idea of contraception stamps, this is also a battle against the affordable care act, and this notion that the president is creating this entitlement society and is a socialist and sort of cradle to grave government, and that's as much at the root of that statement as is the resistance to women having choice of contraception. >> unquestionably, and, of course, there's been a campaign against the affordable care act ever since it was signed. the supreme court decided it.
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these days one of the things congress does is -- it's very undemocratic, which seems to be a theme of everything we've talked about so far. you have large majorities supporting a particular policy, but small minorities blocking them. what congress does when it doesn't look something, you see the stam thing with financial reform. they don't implement it. if you don't implement a policy that's passed, you will literally thwarting democracy. >> they're trying to basically unwind the forredable care act. snoo piece by piece. >> starve the consumer financial protection bureau. right? this is the piece. what you can't do in the big picture, you do in -- >> fundamentally undemocratic in my view. >> death by 1,000 cuts. >> not just are they out of touch with the culture, but they're completely out of touch with the facts around it too. my favorite part about the whole rush limbaugh thing, and it was in the clip that you played is that he seems to think that birth control works like vicodin. like if you take more of it, it's more effective. it's like she's having so much sex, she needs lots of berth control zoosh she needs extra
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pills. >> i don't know, rush, where to start with that. >> i mean, this is such a bizarre -- i mean, i still can't really wrap my head around it, and why republicans think this is a good issue for them. it doesn't even seem to be that much activity on the grassroots level. certainly among women who are clambering about these laws and around birth control. i think it was a good issue for democrats because it allowed democrats to character tour republicans as anti-birth control when, in fact, mitt romney's position on birth control and religious institutions was pretty close to what's been laid out by the president. i just find it so baffling that we're talking about birth control at this point. >> let me ask you, elyse. e.j. dionne, you know, initially i think had some issues with the way the administration handled this, was filled with positive accolades on this and said -- he calls this an olive branch to the catholic church and says america's big religious war ended on friday or at least it ought to. the decision the administration's second attempt
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to -- ought to be taken by the catholic bishops as the victory it is. we know that the u.s. conference on catholic bishops has sort of given an initially positive review of this. to what degree are you guys -- are women's groups like yours in touch with catholic groups like the u.s. conference on catholic bishops to come to consensus on something like this? >> well, i mean, to some degree our mandate is to make sure, as many women as possible have access to the health care that they need to get contraception or safe and legal abortion, or for that matter, prenatal care and family planning if they choose to have a family. you know, i think that there is infighting within the catholic sect that is really not our business to get involved in. that's going to play itself out however it plays itself out. we are pleased that the new rules make sure that there is not a single woman that would have been covered otherwise that will not continue to be covered, and, you know, back to ryan's point about sort of playing fast and loose with the facts, one of the things that folks need to realize, particularly when you
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start looking at private businesses who want to dabble in this playing father to their employees, is this not only is an issue of equality for women and empowerment for women, it's an issue of economic commonsense, right? the insurance companies know this. the more that women have access to contraception, the more unintended pregnancies go down, which costs the economy. squared knows more about this than i do, but it's commonsense. >> and just in terms of, like, the precedent this sets, right, ben, and like, if you open it up to, say, anybody that has any religious or moral objection says to any part of the affordable care act regardless of whether they're religious institutions, you know, doing good works to religious people, i mean, it just opens the door to complete chaos in terms of the affordable care act. >> it feels like a nonstarter. i think there's another interesting thing going on here, though. one of the things we're talking about with this issue and the gun issue is what is going to happen with the culture wars moving forward. you know, what is the trajectory
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of cultural politics look like for the next four years, and one of the things that happened -- that's happening in both places and in gay marriage and many other issues is the republicans are on the losing side of many of these issues nationally, they're not locally, and so it feels like there is a kind of regional and federalism fight that may define some of these issues over the next four years. >> elyse, we would think, one would think, that these kind of debates bring more people to your corner given the eminently reasonable position that many of these women's groups are taking on this issue. is that the case? >> well, absolutely. i mean, any time someone like todd akin opens his mouth, it does remind women and men for that matter, supportive men who don't want unintended pregnancies either, that the stakes are real. at the same time what we like to do is, as i said, surface that critical mass so we can put these very basic issues of freedom aside and start moving on to what a pro active agenda
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for choice looks like. you know, i think as your last panelist was saying, look, all of this comes down to democracy. it's the exact reason why redistricting and the electoral college debate is as much an issue for women's groups as it is for anyone because what we're seeing is that the republicans will gerrymander districts to support extreme positions, including the round choice, that are not popular nationally. >> i bet there are plenty of moderate republicans who would like to have a say in this debate as well. ilyse, thank you so much, and congratulations again. >> thanks for having me. >> coming up, a new battle is brewing among the gop's ranks. william f. buckley versus rush limbaugh. in other words, the past versus the near past. does either side have the elixir? we will discuss just ahead. [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso.
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always good to the last drop. >> he it on so for the then boem for -- >> many of you devoted much of this year it our campaign. i am grateful for that. i hope you stayed involved. just like four years ago winning an election won't bring about the change we seek on its own. it only gives us the chance to make that change. >> now ofa has a slightly different name and a different objective. can the campaign's people power drive the democratic party? we will take a look next on "now." at optionsxpress we're all about options trading.
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2012, one election, several different take-aways. with a second term just beginning, team obama has taken its campaign apparatus organizing for america and relaunched it as organizing for action, a 501c4 lobbying group that ames to build grassroots support for the president's legislative priorities. while the president's machine churns along, on the republican side there is new evidence of malfunction and possible complete dysfunction. the "new york times" reports that the karl rove-led american crossroads group, which spent over $170 million in 2012 to questionable results is setting up the conservative victory project, an organization with the goal of recruiting less extreme candidates. crossroad president steve law said "our approach will be to institutionalize the buckley rule. support the most conservative candidate who can win." an important caveat. the buckley rule has its opponents, namely adhere ens of
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the limbaugh rule. rush's 2010 counter edict that you vote for the most conservative republican in the primary, period. rush's rule was pronounced not surprisingly on the day of the christine o'donnell won her party's delaware primary where she would go on to be crushed in the general election and become the poster child for tea party folly and witches. still, word of rove's establishment maneuverings over the weekend immediately wrainkled many on the right who saw it as a distinct cave-in to dast adviserly moderates. any candidate who gets this group's support should be targeted for destruction by the conservative movement. the conservative club for growth pointed to successful insurgent candidates who defeated establishment choices. "they are welcome to support the likes of arlen specter, charlie krist and david dewhurst. we will if any to proudly support the likes of pat toomey, marco rubio, and ted cruz. no word of o'donnell or akin or
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richard murdock or the party's current 26% approval rating. ryan, i mean, on some level this is not surprising at all, but some -- we call them reasonable minds. some insightive perhaps politically savvy minds in the republican party are thinking, hey, maybe it's not so great for us to elect crazy people to the ticket. >> right. they explicitly took a hands off approach this time, and they said we're going to let primaries shake out, and then we're going to get in whoever wins, but it's tough to figure out exactly how far to the right somebody can be and still win because akin and murdoch probably could have won if they would have not been idiotic for ten seconds during their campaign and completely blown it. the far right can say, well, look, what we need is better did hes palestinianed people. not people who are more liberal. >> well, and, i mean, like this is the big skism on the right.
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we talk about it in gun control and immigration and to some degree women's health care, but there's a problem here, and it's unclear who wins. i thought this was a very choice quote in the national review piece from chris, the president of club for growth, who i will admiringly refer to as count -- >> he said the last time john boehner and i spoke was about a year ago when we were on the same plane. there's no relationship. they probably think we're a pain in the -- i'm paraphrasing -- bum, he said grinning. >> you are had paining initially rise to power on the back of the tea party, and he had this whole you got to dance with the one that brunk you philosophy. he really is more about legislating and the tea party is more about protesting and stopping things from happening. i think if you look overall at the republican party nationally, they have a real problem. in the last six elections democrats have averaged something like 320 electoral votes. the most that my republican has gotten was george bush, 286. there's just an overall problem.
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we're seeing now, obviously, the civil war in the gop. we saw it before with democrats. you saw the emergence, of course, of bill clinton, who was the new democrat, and you saw in some ways the only way that george bush was able to run was he sort of had a different idea about republicans too. this whole idea of compassionate conservatism. >> i have the same head-scratcher that ryan has with all of this stuff, which is that i don't understand how they square the circle between the policies that the base and the limbaughs of the world, you know, really believe fundamentally and candidates who are supposed to look different or speak different or somehow make it more kinder and gentler. look, if you are just against immigration, if you are just really about slashing and burning government services, including medicare, which, by the way, even a majority of tea partiers say they like, then you're not going to get elected. i don't care how you dress it up. >> it's interesting that you say that because i think in addition to realizing they need to move on things like immigration or
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women's health care, there is now a call by some in the elder -- some of the quasi-elder republican leadership to rephrase or rethink the way in which they talk about their fiscal -- >> let me just say that -- >> i'm not saying that's a measurable difference. >> the problem is that's toeltly inkibt with, like, their budget. >> the paul ryan budget, which is the budget they all ep brace, cuts the heck out of all that stuff. you can go forth and say i'm for a, b, and c, but eventually it becomes quite clear that your policies are opposite of a, b, and c. >> eric cantor plans to urge republicans to begin talking about how the federal government -- listen to this carefully. "how the federal government can help american families rather than focussing primarily on the need to reduce federal spend and tackle budget deficits." that seems to be a wholesale reversal of where they've been. >> absolutely. i mean, if you go back to the clinton example, which is i think instructive, clinton had to figure out how to run the state. that was not naturally a liberal state. you know? and there was a kind of set of
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policy innovations that developed during the early 1980s that democratic governors of less liberal states had to sort of figure out how to be more pragmatic to make things work. one of the problems we have now with general polarization is that you have a lot of republican congressional candidates, even governors, coming up in states where they're not responsive to a moderate jurisdiction. you know, it's true that there are figures like -- i think rubio is actually not -- is actually a really interesting figure, but there's also figures like chris christie. you have some republicans that are in states that -- >> jeb bush. >> right. on the whole the party is being pushed by pure demographics and pure districting into a particular corner that's going to be harder for it to get out of than the clinton era democratic -- >> the narrative was so well established in 2012, right? the president ran on this message. the republicans had no sort of emotional response to what the -- a very emotional argument that the president was making. it was just cut taxes for the
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top 1%. i don't know how you sort of begin to repackage that message in 2013. >> the far right is immune to the evidence of the elections. they don't really care. count chocola is a good example. his claim to fame is losing his congressional seat to joe donnelley and went on to become a senator. he brought extra democrats to the house and extra democrats to the senate. he is still pushing forward with the same strategy. because it worked for him, it works for his organization. >> we've spent a lot of time and will we'll continue to talk about the problems that the republican party has, ryan, but i do want to bring up because we talked about it in many of or leads to this segment about the ofa and the new sort of campaign machine that is being kept in place, and on one hand it's impressive, right, the president has a machine unlike no other, and it's i think a long time coming that they keep this kind of machinery and infrastructure in place, but there are?
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questions about what that portends and means for finance reform. i'll read something from the huffington post. outside democratic groups focus on winning elections clearly hoping that ofa will be a boone to their efforts to win back the house and expand a democratic majority in the senate. campaign reformers see the launch of a nonprofit that will accept corporate donations as the final retreat from the president's long ago we should to change the way washington works. your response to that? your thinking on that? >> yes. i mean, it's a complete retreat. you know, the forces of campaign finance reform have been completely rapid, and they're definitely scattered all across the field. what the president is doing here with his campaign arm is acknowledging that fact and saying, look, i guess if we want to reform xaen finance, let's do that. until then, we're just going to, you know -- if it's going to rain, we're going to put our buckets out there. >> jared is someone that used to work in the white house. your thoughts on the hasty retreat or long retreat from campaign finance? >> i take ryan's point.
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at the same time one of the things that the president was not doing effectively enough in his first term was bringing his message to the people and the only way things are going to happen that are positive and progressive in my view going forward is from the bottom up. is from pressure from outside groups getting the kind of support that i hope ofa can generate. politically it's a good thing, i think. >> we are among those criticizing him for it. >> exactly. >> i will say it neenz nia, we are going to be -- you are going to be covering a campaign forever. it's never ever actually going to end. >> that's right. >> we have to leave it there. oh, no. i hate this part of the show. ryan grim and benjamin wallace wells, class is dismissed for you guys. thank you so much for joining us. as always. coming up, tens of millions of americans don't know where their next meal will come from, but food and security is not the only symptom of extreme poverty in this country. we will take a look at a new film that explores hunger and related issues just ahead.
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>> i have my budget, and i went to a supermarket. it took me an awful long time because you have to add up every penny, and it has to last you for a week. there are people who are living on that food stamp allocation, and you really can't. for us it was an exercise that ended in a week. for millions of other people in this country that's their way of life. every day is a struggle just to eat. >> we will take a closer look at the film and hunger and poverty in america. that's next. for their annual football trip. that's double miles you can actually use. tragically, their buddy got sacked by blackouts. but it's our tradition! that's roughing the card holder. but with the capital one venture card
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50 million people are food insecure in this country, unsure of where their next meal will come from.
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one in five children fall into this category and nearly three in five of these americans rely on some form of government food aid. the food stamp program now called snap provides each person an average of $33.35 a week per food, or $4.76 a day. the problem is prevalent, but oftentimes plays out in the shadows of american society. in the book "a place at the table" dr. chilton writes all this happens without outcry or substantive political discussion. the american public can't see the problem, and the moms who know about it are so busy struggling to pull out of their predicament that they can't take the time to figure out how to advertise their plight. joining the panel is founder and ceo of share our strength, billy shore, and the editor of the book "a place at the table" peter principalingle. thank you for joining us. there's not going to be nearly enough time in this show many our time on air and on msnbc to talk about this problem. it is so painfully under
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discussed. when we talk about food stamps in this country, there is a stigmati sfwl ation, it is a life-saving -- it is a life-saving program, and i think you put that in the context of how much a family of four makes to live on the port line. that's close to $23,000 for a family of four, $11,000 for an individual, according to the 2011 census. 46.2 million people live in poverty. these are life-saving programs. yet, those who were vilified in the paul ryan budget would like to, you know, cut $134 billion from the program. >> these are near record levels. we've never had 46 million americans on food stamps. the secretary of agriculture, tom vilsack said of all the kids in america today half will be on food assistance at some point during their childhood. that's remarkable. how are we going to have a strong america with weak kids? you can't do it. this is such a small investment in the scheme of things. most of the food and nutrition programs, such a small investment, but the impact on education, the impact on health and nutrition, the impact on
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economic competitiveness are huge. >> it's foundational. peter, many terms of the stories here, i mean, when you read, when you see the documentary, the book there's a great rolling stone piece that we talked about a couple of weeks ago. people, to get on food stamps, it takes work to get on food stamps. you literally have to have nothing. i'll right an excerpt from the rolling stone piece. a woman says "i capital tell you how many people have come to my office and say i couldn't get stood famps because my car is worth too much, said nancy kapp, the coordinator of one of the probz programs. she said you have a car, but have you lost everything. your house, your job, your pride, and all you have left is you and all of your belongings in it, and they say you still have too much? lose it all. you have to have nothing when you already have nothing. >> yes. well, but what we managed to do in the book as opposed to the film is go back to history of food stamps. how did it start? it started in 1939 after the depression, and there were orange stamps and blue stamps,
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and they were all for fresh foods. agricultural surpluses. now what are they for? they've changed. you can now buy, you know, soda pop on food stamps. we're talking about even when you get those food stamps, you are probably going to get the wrong kinds of food. sfoo part of the problem is $4.62 a day, what can you buy for that, right? if you are actually living on that, and you talk about what qualifies as poverty in america, what is the poverty line? you mention during the break that went up a little bit from $23,021 as the federal line for poverty. >> it goes up with inflation, but, i mean, i think the thing to understand about food stamps and the context of the great recession was there certainly was no other anti-poverty program that responded so effectively and thoroughly. the reason food stamp rolls we want up is because the economy went so far down, and so many people lost their jobs and incomes. unfortunately, much of our safety net hasn't been working in that counter way. yes, the fact that calories are
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very cheap is a problem that this book deals with very effectively, but the issue of food stamps as a safety net program has to be one that we protect. >> in terms of the quote that we let in from the book, the notion that those who are on food stamps are the ones that could probably make the most effective argument for food stamps, but they are literally scraping by, and so the dialogue is missing those voices, and has been fairly unmanufacturetive at best. >> i think that's the key thing to focus on. the fact that people involved here, particularly children, are not only vulnerable, but they are voiceless, right, because this is a solvable problem. we're not talking about syria or sudan or sequestration. we're talking about the wealthiest, most abundant country in the world. this is a solvable problem, but there's been a lack of political will. hopefully it's growing. ultimately, you know, jim mcgovern talks about this hunger being a political condition. the political will can make a huge difference here, and it's iffing to take leadership from all of us. one of the things i think the book points out is not just the
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president, it's not just the business community, not just nonprofits. it's going to take all of us to solve this problem. >> i think that's right. if you look at the discussion of poverty during the 2012 election, it was nonexistent. bill clinton did mention the word poverty in his address there. he talked about it within the context of kids, and i think politicians need to do more of that. democrats used to be the party to do that. you had john edwards talking about two americas. >> right. >> in some ways republicans you had people like kemp, but that doesn't exist anymore, and i think it is in some ways because there is this stigmatization around poverty that is, unfortunately, intertwined with's. >> pierre, you know, the other piece of this is that one in three americans are at or mere poverty. 35% of america is obese. you can see an interlinkage. if are you on food stamps and you are lelying on fast food, it is a sort of cyclical -- it is a snake eating its own head. have you to break that cycle. >> in the book we have this piece by maran nestle, a nutritionist at niu.
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she says the costs of fresh foods has gone up 40% since 1908, and the costs of processed foods, which are the ones that make you obese, has gone down 40%. it's pretty much as simple as that. where you go from there is to, you know, try and decide -- make a program into this social action. >> read the -- if we begin with the book and then the movie and having you guys back on as soon as possible after this show, thank you so much for coming on the show. the book is "a place at the tables" and the movie premiers on march 1st. s peter and billy. thank you. andrea mitchell reports. ave to t of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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